A personals profile, or in some cases a personals Ad is a dating profile trend that has certainly changed through the eras.
Through both, the rise of popularity and technology, the personals profiles that once were, are very different now.
This is due to more and more people taking the time to mend their lonely hearts and discover their compatible match through the medium that is online dating.
No longer are people sending their personal statements of interests, aspirations and desires to the back of a magazine.
Now, they are flaunting their passions of festivals or holidays, dogs or cars, and using the much-beloved pick-up-line to spark a connection with a mystery lover.
The way in which we are looking for romance has clearly changed, but is it for the better?
In this article, we will be discussing the personals profile trends throughout the ages, and see if this new wave of dating is really beneficial or not.
The Lonely Hearts Profiles
Going all the way back to 1685; the first dating profile was released when a pamphlet editor came to the conclusion that love was not a sweet emotion, but a money-making project that could certainly be used as a profitable commodity.
The first profile was placed by a man known to be around the ages of 30, “seeking a gentlewoman that has a fortune of 3000L or thereabout”.
Given the period of time, this was a lot of money needed at their disposal in order to meet this gentleman’s requirements, something the newspaper could possibly help him find.
From here the Lonely Hearts offers continued to grow, with each profile asking their possible match to have the most superficial features such as ‘ a well-proportioned head’, ‘a shapely ankle’ or ‘lady of soft lips and full bosom’; similar things some of us may look out for today, but not be so very upfront about.
Many people within this era believed themselves to be unlucky in love, leaving their homes to travel to the city for work, life was never lonelier, but the Lonely Hearts column gave those hope, and the risk changed the way in which dating would be played out forever.
Anyone who saw the adverts and believed they provided all the requirements asked, they could simply reply through the mail, to the unique letterbox attached to the personals advert.
The publisher will then send these in the direction of the advertiser, with the hopes to find their next partner.
Homosexual Personals Profiles
While homosexuality was something frowned upon, and even illegal in the 1700s, they were still able to find love and would find a way to do so just like everyone else, through the use of personal profile adverts.
Cleverly, to still take part in this dating process, but not get caught out, the homosexual men would use code words within their posted adverts, that those only of the same sexuality would notice, and understand.
By doing this, the men would avoid being prosecuted, and in worst cases even executed, able to safely sneak behind the shadows, but right in plain sight and find love just like everyone else.
A small update from the original personals profile posted in magazines; to stay up with the times and technology development, those within the Lonely Hearts business decided to take it mobile, and allow the users to place adverts through a telephone instead.
This instantly skyrocketed alongside the introduction of premium-rate telephone numbers.
By taking the adverts to the telephone, the publisher now had an additional way to generate money from these lost loving souls.
The way in which this worked was by enticing those who wanted to advertise, allowing them to do so free of charge via the provided phone number.
Then those who may be interested can listen to the offered adverts and reply, but this was done at a charge.
The catch with this method of advertising is that the advertiser must pay to see if they have received any replies, with the hopes that their hard-earned money may pave the way to finding a new love interest.
School Project Dating
In 1959, two school students wanted to take previous methods of dating a little further during an assigned project and create a dating process of their own.
Jim Harvey and Phil Fialer, attendees of Stanford College were the first to create an automated match dating process.
The way in which this automated process worked was done by creating a ‘punch card questionnaire’, helping to break the ice for love searching singletons.
At the time a IBM 650 mainframe computer was used to collate all the data given in from the questionnaire, to pair 98 men and women, to the best of their capability.
It is likely that the answers were studied, finding answers that were similar to answers given by a participant before pairing with another singleton who would have similar answers,
While this wasn’t entirely mainstream, modern dating sites such as eHarmony still look up to the home created process and certainly label it as the first attempt of automated matchmaking, something that will continue to be used time and time again in the future.
A Personal Ad Upgrade
From 1965 all the way to 1990, printed personals ads were popular, with thousands of people beginning to leave the original forms of dating methods, and take a real liking to these printed dating adverts.
However, all this changed due to the invention of one groundbreaking platform, the internet.
Through its availability to be accessed by all, those seeking love were able to speak to potential partners over the internet from anywhere in the world, on platforms such as AOL, Prodigy, Craigslist, and any other online chat rooms available at the time.
This removed the need for those searching for love to wait months on end waiting to receive a response from their newspaper ads.
This allows them to get responses instantly with people they believe they could be compatible with.
As well as this, it allows advertisers to find love within their own time and speed.
Those desperate for love could put in the time, while those just looking for a conversation for a while, can do so as they please.
Online Dating: A Timeline
Online dating has definitely become an integral part of the dating world, with many taking this route when it comes to finding a new partner.
With the statistics proving that this method of love hunting works, with 40% of Americans meeting their life partner through online dating.
Because of this adaption, it can be hard to remember what dating was like long before Lonely Hearts or online personals profiles, but if anything, it seems to be a good change.
No longer are friends having to set others up, introduce them to long-distance cousins or new movers going to independent bars hoping to finally pick someone up.
Everything can now be done from the simplicity of a phone screen and the living room, as long as there are a collection of high-quality photos, and a bio to match the singletons personality, finding love through online dating has never been easier.
Established in 1995, the match.com online dating website became the very first online dating platform available to anyone with a desktop and internet connection.
Due to this new dating process being at an accessible reach for absolutely anyone, it has taken away the barriers that may be faced in the dating world when taking their first steps within a new relationship.
Match.com works to address the two major problems faced within the dating industry, by creating a platform that not only makes it easier to date, but less intimidating, and an enjoyable journey too.
eHarmony, when arriving onto the online dating scene, made sure the way in which they did things was very different from that of their competitor, match.com.
The site was aimed specifically at those who wanted a long-term, committed relationship, with their profiles suggesting their interest.
To increase the success rate of the site, and to get as many people finding love as possible. eHarmony works to tailor their profiles to one another by asking each to take part in a survey.
By asking questions that take into consideration the 29 dimensions of compatibility, this ensures that each person only speaks to someone that they are compatible with for concrete results. For example, focus on interests, adaptability, intellect, conflict resolution skills and emotional energy.
Because of this survey, unlike profiles of the past, eHarmony gives their matches to the users, rather than making them find each other themselves.
Surfaced in 2004, OkCupid became another very unique form of online dating site, OkCupid allows both men and women to jump into the dating world with different processes available, allowing them to find what suits them most.
They ask users to answer a questionnaire in 3 different steps. First by answering the question, then showing how they would like a possible match to answer it and finally by determining how important the question was.
The answers given are used as the point of compatibility, rather than the personals profile.
From here, each question is rated by a number, and placed into an algorithm on the site.
This data is then analysed and will locate specific matches that the user is searching for, before offering the best possible partners that meet their requirements.
Because of this unique process, it has turned this simple dating website into a found favourite, with many successful online match stories out there.
An innovation following the movement of online dating, is the progression of going from computer to mobile.
This change in technology and the ever-evolving way in which we use them can be seen with the creation of the new relationship app Tinder.
Unlike other developments, Tinder became the first online dating app that used the ‘swiping to match system’.
In this case, it works by showing the user a photo of a person, to which the can swipe left for no, and right for yes, with the hopes to match them.
The only way they can be matched though, is it the other person swipes right to them too.
Rather than asking the user a series of emotional questions, Tinder is more about the physical appearance of the possible match, taking this into consideration first, before deciding whether or not to speak with them.
Not only are the images taken into consideration, but the profiles usually have an ice-breaking one-liner within their profile bio, to show they have a humorous or exciting side.
This process does not come without controversy, but within the online dating world, there are so many different platforms, each offering a unique and individual service for all styles of singletons looking for love.
It is clear that the given methods of finding a romantic relationship have evolved over time, alongside the development of technology and the intense competition faced by each different platform.
While each all have the same initiative, it is important for them to release processes that may prove to be more successful than another, in finding compatible couples, with the hopes they’ll spend much of their future together.
Today, 236.9 million users are said to make up every online dating account of 2020, with predicted numbers set to only rise over the upcoming years.
This is clearly showing that the traditional method of dating is on the decline, and people are taking a liking to this confidence-boosting, simple and comfortable way of finding a compatible partner.
If anything, they are only going to evolve further into more successful processes within the future.
Singles are no longer limited to the people they could reach by simply having a personals profile online.
The times are different from that of newspaper and telephone dating.
No longer are you required to wait months on end praying for a letter, or having to go all the way to a bar to find love; it can now be completed from the living room sofa with absolutely no fuss at all.